Wednesday, April 23, 2014
La Haye Sainte Review: Tiger Terrain
While browsing eBay, I came across some beautiful and yet unique, resin buildings themed around the 1815 campaign. There were several of these buildings and I had not previously encountered. They were selling quite high likely because since even the owner appeared to be forgetful of what manufacturer created them, people probably assumed it was no longer available. I also made that assumption as I had never seen them before.
The Miniatures Page folks had some difficulty in figuring it out when I made a post that asking for help finding the manufacturer. It turns out to be from the Opus Miniatures line, now under control of Tiger Terrain. The company does not have a web site at the moment, but Stephan was kind enough to send me his catalogs and explain how he had taken over the line and was retooling the molds. The PDF catalog has great images of various buildings, bridges and other terrain that really is high class. In the past, I had purchased the La Haye Sainte kit from JR Miniatures. Although cheaper and crude, it doesn't hold a light to this kit. A plaster kit, as what Jr Miniatures offers, is not a great method of modeling detail. Until recently, I assumed La Haye Sainte was stuccoed.
This kit is resin and no molding lines were present anywhere, nor any flash or releasing agents. It was so clean I almost assumed he cleaned it up for me knowing I was doing a review, but he assured me he does not use releasing agents and the molds are new. Perhaps not evident from the pictures is the individual bricks can be seen and are all clean and precise. I wasn't able to find any blurring of details or sagging pieces. Everything slides together like a tight fitting puzzle.
One thing that attracted me to the model and sealed the deal is that it is suited for the larger 15mm or rather, 18mm ranges. Most manufacturers still insist on the older scales and haven't caught up. The foot print of this kit is indeed a little bit smaller than it ought to be if one were concerned with scale, however many of us do not want urban sprawl on our gaming table. For some reason the picture of the AB French officer on foot didn't come out right on the camera or else it would have been here for a good frame of reference on size.
The model arrived from England quickly and was packaged well. Being a quality resin, all the bubble wrap was unnecessary, but I appreciated the time took to wrap each building and wall section individually.
If you are interested in this kit or browsing their growing range of great buildings and accessories, feel free to contact Stephan at Tiger Terrain via email for your catalog: TigerTerrain@gmail.com
After some careful thought of considering the best way to approach painting this kit, I decided a professional touch might be in order. 32 pounds is nothing to brush off lightly and given the high quality of the buildings I already own (as seen in earlier reviews on my blog), I wanted it top notch. As it may be remembered I had used Sabol Studios for the previous work and it all turned out beautiful. While browsing their work online for other 15mm work they had done, I wasn't able to come across anything new in that scale they did. One thing that did catch my eye was http://www.masterclassterrain.com/ As can be seen from the home page, some of my buildings were present. As they site explains, one of the artists split off. Turns out she (yes, a great female painter! Like a four leaf clover, you hear of them but seldom find one) was the artist who did my other buildings in the past.
I tend to stick with what works and so after some emails back and forth, Denise agreed to take on the commission. This image is only a preview of a review I will do within the next week or so. It is a work in progress and should be done soon but it is already stunning. As can be seen, it is looking quite wonderful with the weathering effects. Her skill is evident and best of all, consistent. She was able to paint Spanish to Belgian and not miss a beat. La Haye Sainte close ups will be given when she's finished and I have in my possession.
Denise is quite the modeler it would seem as viewing her portfolio: http://www.masterclassterrain.com/portfolio-2 She is also working with the renowned Miniature Building Authority in painting their products. Take a look at her work and see if she can't paint some terrain up for you.
Updated picture below: